PA's fears of internationalizing case of assassination activist Banat

Days of Palestine - Ramallah

A high-level security meeting was held in the office of President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah last night to discuss concerns about the internationalization of the issue of the assassination of the security services, the political opponent Nizar Banat in Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank, according to local sources.

The sources indicated that the meeting discussed "frightening scenarios" for the authority; The most prominent of these is the internationalization of the investigation into the assassination of Banat, especially if human rights organizations and his family use international statements criticizing his killing to pursue the case in European courts or with international human rights bodies, or pressure donor countries to restrict funding for the authority until its human rights record is improved.

Read More: Human rights and international condemnations of assassination of activist Nizar Banat

They indicated that the meeting was "confused" during the discussion of the proposed scenarios and ways to deal with them, in light of messages sent by local and international bodies, especially European, to the authority calling for a transparent investigation and accountability for the perpetrators of the crime.

The informed sources indicated that the international statements criticizing the assassination of Banat were surprising to the authority, as it did not expect the case to have such an echo at the international level.

Read More: Hamas condemns the assassination of human rights activist Banat

They stated that "the presidency, after the recent cancellation of the elections, has become an unenviable international position, and therefore its position is fragile on all issues, so how about a case of heavy caliber such as a Banat's issue."

The sources pointed out that the meeting also discussed the implications of former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's statements about the assassination of Banat.

"The authority is used to critical statements from opposition organizations and personalities, but it is the first time that someone like Salam Fayyad has spoken in this way about the authority and the security establishment," they said.

The sources added, "Fayyad is a prominent international figure, and he does not speak arbitrarily, and therefore his statements indicate the need for some change in the power structure, which is the message for which the president's office has mobilized."

They pointed out that "Fayyad is still considered an important person, and he has a security escort and a bodyguard since he left his position as prime minister, which means that he is from inside the house despite all the previous disputes."

Fayyad had commented on the assassination of Banat by saying that: "Nizar Banat was a martyr without his opinion and the right of people to exercise this right."

And he added, through his account on "Facebook", "It will be said that we will hold the perpetrators accountable. Stop disregarding people's lives and underestimating their minds."

Fayyad stressed that "what is required is a change of approach, and without that, the tragedy will be repeated at the hands of new actors."

The assassination was widely condemned by all components of the Palestinian people, while the United Nations expressed its shock, calling for a transparent investigation into the circumstances of the killing.

Several international bodies and institutions condemned the crime committed against the candidate in the elections that disrupted the Legislative Council.

"Shocked and saddened by the death of Banat following his arrest by the Palestinian security forces ... Our condolences to his family and loved ones and a full, independent, and transparent investigation must be carried out immediately," said the European Union representative in Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff.

While the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian Territories Lynn Hastings tweeted, "Disturbing news of the killing of Banat shortly after was arrested from his home in Hebron.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wencesland, said: "Shocked and saddened by the death of girls following his arrest by Palestinian security forces, and our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones... I call for an immediate, independent, and transparent investigation and the perpetrators must be brought to justice."

Banat's family confirmed that Nizar was subjected to a premeditated assassination as a result of his opposition to the political approach of the Palestinian Authority.

They explained that more than 20 armed men stormed the house in which he was located in the southern district of Hebron, and blew up its entrance, then surrounded Nizar while he was sleeping and beat him with an iron bat on the head.


Your support helps protect the Days of Palestine’s independence and it means we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open for everyone around the world. Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future.